Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (P.H.U.L.) Workout

Build both size and strength in this 4 day split based around basic compound movements. Get the best of both worlds with bodybuilding and powerlifting.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
12 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (PHUL) Workout

The PHUL workout is based around the basic principles of strength and size.  This 4 day program will allow you to maximize results on both fronts in an easy adaptable routine built off the following principles:

Frequency. Studies have shown muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to be elevated for up to 48 hours after training. That would make it ideal for you to hit each muscle more frequently than a typical once per week split. The PHUL program is designed to hit each muscle group twice within a week.

Compounds. The PHUL program focuses on the big compound movements for optimal progression. While isolation movements are included in this program as well, the main goal is to increase performance on the main lifts, as well as pack on pounds of muscle.

Power. This program uses 2 of it's 4 working days to focus on pure strength training. The key to getting stronger and bigger is to utilize progressive overload and time under tension. These 2 days will see that you'll be able to use more weight on your hypertrophy days.

Hypertrophy. In addition to 2 power days, your other 2 days on the PHUL program will focus on hypertrophy (bodybuilding) style training. This way, not only will you be seeing strength increases but you'll be building size as well.

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PHUL Notes:

  1. Sets and Reps - When first beginning this program it is suggested to start with a lower amount of total volume until you become accustomed to the workload.
  2. Failure - Failure is a tool that should not be abused. All sets should be completed with at least 1 rep "left in the tank." Meaning you should struggle to complete your heavier sets, but not to the point where you're unable to get your goal reps.
  3. Exercise Selection - Main compounds should remain unchanged, however substitutions can be made for like exercises if desired.
  4. Abdominals - Ab work can be done at the end of training or on off days.
PHUL Schedule:
  • Day 1: Upper Power
  • Day 2: Lower Power
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Upper Hypertrophy
  • Day 5: Lower Hypertrophy
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off
Day 1
Upper Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Bench Press 3-4 3-5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3-4 6-10
Bent Over Row 3-4 3-5
Lat Pull Down 3-4 6-10
Overhead Press 2-3 5-8
Barbell Curl 2-3 6-10
Skullcrusher 2-3 6-10
Day 2
Lower Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3-4 3-5
Deadlift 3-4 3-5
Leg Press 3-5 10-15
Leg Curl 3-4 6-10
Calf Exercise 4 6-10
Day 4
Upper Hypertrophy
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3-4 8-12
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye 3-4 8-12
Seated Cable Row 3-4 8-12
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3-4 8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3-4 8-12
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl 3-4 8-12
Cable Tricep Extension 3-4 8-12
Day 5
Lower Hypertrophy
Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squat 3-4 8-12
Barbell Lunge 3-4 8-12
Leg Extension 3-4 10-15
Leg Curl 3-4 10-15
Seated Calf Raise 3-4 8-12
Calf Press 3-4 8-12

747 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:03
Alonso

Hi Josh,

Thanks for putting this together. What should the progression be for this? About 5lbs every week or every other week for major compound lifts? This assuming I'm lifting at about 80% of max for compound lifts.

What's the progression for the hypertrophy lifts?

Thanks,
Alonso

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/28/2017 - 16:54
JoshEngland

Hi Alonso,

Progressions will be different for everyone and aren't always linear. What you've laid out in your example seems to be a great way to use this program to me. I'd attempt to progress in the hypertrophy lifts every other week as well.

Just be sure to listen to your body and keep form in mind when progressing. There's no shame in backing down if you cant hit the reps with good form.

As long as you're progressing over the long run, you'll see the results you're hoping for.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 11/26/2017 - 03:27
Sherif

Hey,
could you define the rest period between sets at the power and hypertrophy workout

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/27/2017 - 10:05
JoshEngland

Hi Sherif,

45-60 seconds for hypertrophy and accessory lifts. 3-5 minutes for strength based rep ranges (1-5 reps).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 11/24/2017 - 14:07
Waleed Maher

What about cardio? And will this help in fat loss

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/27/2017 - 10:06
JoshEngland

Hi Waleed,

Yes, you're more than welcome to add in cardio to this workout program and it is generally recommended to perform cardio regardless of goals to maintain healthy cardiovascular functioning.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 11/17/2017 - 14:57
SM

Hello , seems a nice plan . Should we be doing this programme for straight 12 weeks or should we change rep size and weights as we progress to prevent a plateau.
Cheers,
SM

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/20/2017 - 08:55
JoshEngland

Hi SM,

You can do either or.

When I've done this program in the past I've performed the upper rep and set ranges for 12 weeks straight, increasing the weight used every other week or so.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 11/13/2017 - 23:33
Mike

So I ran this program and maxed out for the first time and got some decent numbers. However when I maxed out a month later the numbers stayed the same. How I ran the program was on power days I would do 5 reps one week and then lower the rep range down 1 from there. I also did the same thing with the hypertrophy days, but I would lower it by two reps. I was just wondering if I was running the program wrong

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Posted Wed, 11/29/2017 - 22:14
Tom

Hey man. Typically if you're stalling, it can be a number of problems but the most common one is not eating enough. You can work out as hard as you want but if you're not eating enough to build the necessary muscles, you're bound to stall. If you diet is in check and you're eating enough, it could be stress/lack of sleep too.

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Posted Fri, 11/10/2017 - 13:59
David

Hi
Thanks for posting your workout. Just one question. With the barbell lunges, is it 8-12 reps per leg or 8-12 reps in total (4-6 perleg)?
Thanks
David

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/10/2017 - 15:00
JoshEngland

Hi David,

It is intended to be 8-12 reps per leg.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 11/11/2017 - 02:32
David

Thought it was. Thanks

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Posted Mon, 11/06/2017 - 22:21
Yosia

Hello,
Is it fine to alternate the power & hypertrophy days? I'm planning to do the program like this.
Day 1 - Upper Power
2 - Lower Hypertrophy
3 - Upper Hypertrophy
Rest
4 - Lower Power
Rest
Rest

I go to a different gym place once every week. There is a leg press machine at this particular gym so I'm thinking that it is better to do the lower power day there so I can complete the routines without the hassle of improvising a workout because of equipment unavailability.

Will the gains be different if I don't follow the program as it is or is it fine to do it just like the alternation I wrote above? Hoping for your response. Thank you for the time.

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Posted Sat, 11/04/2017 - 02:45
Justin

Hello Josh,
Can I do the routine like this:
Day 1 - Upper power
Day 2 - Lower power
Day 3 - Upper hypertrophy
Rest
Day 4 - Lower hypertrophy
Rest
Rest

Rest day after 2 consecutive power days is really recommended? Will the gains be hampered if I follow the schedule arrangement above? Really need your insight. Thank you sir.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/06/2017 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi Justin,

Setting up your week like this is an ok adaptation to this program. The difference of results by performing the program this way vs the way it was written is minimal if any. Just make sure your diet is on point, you're getting enough sleep each night, and you're recovering well after each training session.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/31/2017 - 17:29
Amir Khan

Looking to start this routine but concerned by the lack of shoulder exercises? my shoulders are a weak point.

Can it be adjusted slightly for additional shoulder work?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 11/01/2017 - 09:18
JoshEngland

Hi Amir,

Yes, this program is simply a template. You are more than welcome to alter it to better fit your individual needs and fitness goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:40
Gary

Two weeks into this program and I found that I have increase strength in some areas but my chest exercises are decreasing. Is this normal?

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Posted Sun, 10/29/2017 - 14:12
David

I have an upcoming meet in mid january and want to put on muscle before I start my peaking cycle which I need 4-5weeks for. Is this program still effective to use for 8 weeks instead of 12 and then switch to peaking cycle?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:15
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Yes, you should still be able to see results using this program for 8 weeks instead of 12.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/28/2017 - 22:03
PETER MULLEN

Very intense program. Not for oldies

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Posted Thu, 10/26/2017 - 15:07
Brandon

Hey josh, is quick question is it better to do it in your order (ie two chest than two back) or establish a mini push pull (one chest one back then last chest last back)? Does it provide better growth either way like resting to do more reps or working the muscle harder for better results?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi Brandon,

Either works. If you're short on time supersetting the higher rep exercises in a push/pull fashion is a great option. If your goal is to build as much muscle as possible, I'd go with performing them in the order they are listed and resting for an appropriate rest interval depending on the rep count.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/24/2017 - 23:55
Alin

What if Wednesday I work again my upper body ? Is ok ?

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Posted Tue, 10/24/2017 - 00:41
Nicole

Hello! I’m so excited to try this program out. I’m currently cutting and trying to lose fat. Just started this program yesterday along with tracking macros. Excited to see my results.

Question for you. My gym doesn’t have bumper plates, would it be okay to swap out the deadlifts for rack pull deadlifts? Will my results be just as good? Thabks again for the awesome program!

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Posted Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:33
Asad Jillani

Hey,

It's says the program is for intermediate lifters. I wanted to ask at what point is someone considered an intermediate? Is it when they've reached certain numbers on their bench, squat and deadlift?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/19/2017 - 08:56
JoshEngland

Hi Asad,

Strength numbers are relative. Some beginners may be naturally stronger than an advanced lifter.

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced labels for our workouts are determine by the overall volume within the workout, and the average experience needed to accomplish the lifts within the program.

An intermediate is likely someone who has 1-3 years of progressive lifting experience under their belts who know how to execute the exercises within the program with perfect form for the prescribed number of reps.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 23:08
Luke Johnson

Could i do this monday thru thursday with friday sat and sun off???

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Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:31
Brooks

Hey,
Are the bent over rows supposed to be done like pendlay rows (body parallel to the floor) or a little more vertical?
Cheers!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 14:57
JoshEngland

Hi Brooks,

You can do them whichever way you feel more comfortable with. Personally, I like to stay a little more vertical.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 10/07/2017 - 13:43
Sangy

Hi Josh,

I've a shoulder issue so I've incorporated Straight arm pushdown, Face pull, One arm machine row (instead of one arm dumbbell row) in my routine. Do you think they're good replacements?

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Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:02
R-Diddy

Brandon,
Good workout split. However it should be called SHUL (Strength, Hypertrophy, Upper, Lower). You have designed a really good base strength and hypertrophy workout, however there are no power exercises listed at all. Power and strength are two different avenues. Otherwise keep up the good work! This exercise will really help a lot of people mate!

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Posted Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:10
Mark

I only have free weights, any suggestions on what exercises to swap out for the leg press, curl and extension?

Thanks!

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Posted Thu, 09/28/2017 - 18:08
Sim

This looks really good! How much weight would you recommend adding each week, and should this be added to each exercise, or only the heavy compounds on the power days?

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Posted Thu, 09/28/2017 - 05:54
Guri Mander

hi mate
I weigh around 268 lbs and my height is 6feet 3 inches and i am on cutting diet , can i use this program to build muscle and lose fat if i cycle my carb ?

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Posted Thu, 10/12/2017 - 14:26
Jo

You can use any program you want just stick to it for at least a couple months. You don’t need to cycle carbs just eat less calories than you burn. Use a tdee caxlutor and eat 500 less than it says. You will lose 1 pound a week. As far as building muscle you depends if you are new to working out or not. You should be able to at least maintain most of your current muscle mass. Make sure to eat lots of protein.

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Posted Fri, 10/13/2017 - 03:04
Guri Mander

thanks mate ...appreciated!!

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Posted Wed, 09/27/2017 - 04:35
Jason180

Hi mate, could you do say for example on power days, chest press 3x5 then, bent over row 3x5, shoulder press 3x5, incline press 3x6, lat pull down 3x6, then superset the arms in that order, Would that give a good mass build option and also do the same with hypertrophy days, 1 chest, 1 back, 1 shoulder in that order then repeat then superset the arms? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/27/2017 - 08:35
JoshEngland

Hi Jason,

Yes, that would be a fine way to adapt this program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/28/2017 - 06:22
Jason180

Great thanks, also can I ask, would the rear delts grow aswell with the exercises listed or would I need to add additional exercises? Thanks

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Posted Thu, 10/19/2017 - 07:46
Ron

I'd throw in some variation of a reverse fly on the hypertrophy day.

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Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 16:34
John

Hey!

Would it be alright to have have Day1: Lower Power Day2:Upper Power and Day4:Lower Hypertrophy Day5:Upper Hypertrophy?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/26/2017 - 11:32
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Yes, absolutely!

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/21/2017 - 21:50
Josh

Hello! Thanks for the great work out. Could these be done as supersets? Would that diminish results?
Ex: Upper Strength
Barbell Bench Press -> Bent Over Row
Incline Dumbbell Press -> Lat Pulldown
Overhead Press
Barbell Curl -> Skull Crusher

I ask because I have limited time at the gym but I want to increase the amount of sets I do and not lose any rest time.

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:37
JoshEngland

Hi Josh,

Sure you can do that. You might be better off doing it solely with hypertrophy lifts though if strength development is one of your main goals with this program. Supersetting adds a conditioning variable to your workout, and if you are supersetting your strength focused lifts, your intensity (weight you use) is bound to suffer.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/19/2017 - 02:15
Pablo Kahn

Are one of the exercises of the upper body workouts activating the rear delt ?, because seems that there are none

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Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:45
Hades

Hi Josh,
In this program, increase the weight each set (example: barbell beanch press: 30lbs x 5rep, 35lbs x 4rep, 40lbs x 3rep) or keep the weight on all set (example: 40lbs x 3rep x 3 set), which is better?
Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:50
JoshEngland

Hi Hades,

You can do either or to be honest. I'd experiment with both and see which form you prefer and then try to progress on your big lifts from there.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/17/2017 - 11:57
Calvin atkinson

Hi I'm 16 ,5ft 8' and weigh 149lb with a body fat around 14-15% ive been training about 9 month and I've seen a lot of improvement ive just completed the first week of this promgramme and it's great but would adding a extra arm day not be wise and do you have any advice in general